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2017-19 Integration and Better Care Fund

Policy Framework

This document sets out the story of integration of health, social care and other public services. It provides an overview of related policy initiatives and legislation. It includes the policy framework for the implementation of the statutory Better Care Fund (BCF) in 2017-19, which was first announced in the Government’s Spending Review of 2013 and established in the Care Act 2014. And it sets out our proposals for going beyond the BCF towards further integration by 2020. Whilst there will now be no separate process for integration plans, we will provide a set of resources, integration models and indicators for integration to help local areas towards our shared goal of person-centred, coordinated care.

This Policy Framework has been developed by the Department of Health (DH), Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG), Local Government Association (LGA), Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS), and NHS England.

The case for integrated health and care services

Today, people are living much longer, often with highly complex needs and multiple conditions. These needs require ongoing management from both health and care services, which combine both the medical and social models of care. As our population ages and the financial pressures on the health and care system increase, we need to be better at providing proactive, preventative care in community settings, so that people can be supported to live at home for longer and avoid the need for commissioned health and care services.

More joined up and sustainable services help improve the health and care of local populations and may make more efficient use of available resources (i.e. by reducing avoidable hospital admissions, facilitating timely discharge, and improving people’s experiences of care). Integration needs to reflect the different strengths that the NHS and social care bring to an integrated response, including the role of social services of promoting and supporting independence, inclusion and rights as far as possible, invigorating wider community services and supporting informal carers.